In comparison to most wine regions, Canada seems a bit far north – and far too cold – to cultivate successful vineyards. But as most wine regions, Canada has pockets of grape growing climates that are slowly being discovered. For some time, wineries have used the cold winters to their advantage, producing some of the world’s best ice wines. Still wines are also gaining ground as the regions explore the best varieties for the area.
The Gulf Islands
This is an exciting new region for viticulture. There are now vineyards and wineries on many Gulf Islands, including Salt Spring, Pender, Saturna, Quadra and Bowen.
There are wineries spread over the southern half of Vancouver Island. There are producers in the Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, as well as Saanich Peninsula, with some close to the city of Victoria.
The Similkameen Valley
The valley is arid with persistent winds that can reduce the moisture in the vines and the soil. Much of the overhead irrigation water can evaporate before touching the ground.
The Okanagan Valley
From Oliver to Osoyoos, the valley fans out with flatter land in the Black Sage vineyard area. This is where the majority of acreage is planted, and is the area with potential for new development.
The Fraser Valley
The fertile delta south of the Fraser River is Vancouver’s agricultural hinterland. Soils are predominantly silty and high in organic matter.